Roberts reads to Elmwood students

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 19, 2014

 Kindergartners in Sandy Cameron’s second-grade class at Elmwood Elementary School listen to state Rep. Sarah Roberts read “The Berenstains’ B Book.” Roberts read to students in five classes March 7 to help celebrate March is Reading Month.

Kindergartners in Sandy Cameron’s second-grade class at Elmwood Elementary School listen to state Rep. Sarah Roberts read “The Berenstains’ B Book.” Roberts read to students in five classes March 7 to help celebrate March is Reading Month.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Story time is a ubiquitous part of school life, and during the month of March — which is Reading Month — it’s no different.

But sometimes, it’s more fun for students to have someone come in from outside the school to open up the world of books.

“Having guest readers come in and share their life experiences is hugely motivating to the students,” said Elmwood Elementary Principal Kellie Terry. “It makes them feel their efforts in reading or growing as readers is very important.”

She said reading is critical to student success, which is why she invited state Rep. Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores) to read to students at the South Lake school March 7.

Roberts visited five classes at the school that day, speaking with the students about her job and what a state representative does — as well as enlightening them on pending legislation that could bring about year-round schooling. That topic brought about a flurry of debate from the students, who answered with a “no” when she asked them if they would like to have their summer break broken up into more vacations throughout the year.

One fifth-grader pointed out that summer vacation is better because, “during the summertime, you can just play,” while a second-grader explained that some families take long vacations to visit faraway relatives during the summer, which might not happen with a shorter break.

This type of debate, Roberts told the students, “is exactly what happens in Lansing.”

Roberts said she feels it’s important for students to learn to love learning and reading, and that is why she enjoys coming out to the schools.

“One of the biggest issues we debate in Lansing is education. To be able to come into the schools … it teaches me a lot,” she said.

Visiting an East Detroit school last school year, she said, she was in a class with 37 students, which she said just highlights the problem with the way schools are funded now.

“If they had the funding they needed, they wouldn’t have 37 kids in the classroom,” she said.

She said she enjoys the opportunity, as well, to interact with her youngest constituents.

“I learn so much from these kids,” she said.

Second-grade teacher Melissa Eggert said having a guest speaker like Roberts showed her students “how important reading is at all levels.”

“It shows, through reading and learning, you can become anything you want to be,” Eggert said.

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